PARIS (AP) -- Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders says hostility toward journalists is growing worldwide, often encouraged by political leaders — even in democratic countries.
The group's annual global index of media freedom released Wednesday found an overall rise in animosity toward reporters and a drop in freedoms, notably in former Soviet states but also in countries from the U.S. to the Philippines.
The group says many democratically elected leaders "no longer see the media as part of democracy's essential underpinning," singling out U.S. President Donald Trump for his media-bashing. It also notes the recent killings of reporters in EU members Slovakia and Malta.
The watchdog says authoritarian regimes are trying to "export their vision" that media should be compliant.
It says hate speech targeting journalists is amplified on social networks by government-friendly trolls in India, Russia and elsewhere.